PR graphic of a Garuda liveried Boeing 777-300ER

Any doubts as to Garuda’s interest in returning to the kangaroo routes between Australia and London have vanished after today’s announcement of revised Australian schedules to make such flights via Jakarta more practicable.

This is the Garuda statement:

Garuda Indonesia, the airline of Indonesia, has announced its newly introduced flights to London are now on sale via the airline’s website and reservations team and through its partner travel agents.

From 2nd November 2013, flights will depart from Sydney five times a week on the airline’s new Boeing 777-300 aircraft, accommodating 314 passengers across First, Executive and Economy Class. Connecting flights from Melbourne will fly four times weekly, and from Perth five times weekly. Garuda Indonesia has also updated flight schedules from the airline’s three Australian hubs; Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, to offer more convenient onward flight for Australian passengers, with stopovers in Jakarta exceeding no more than 3.5 hours.

Commenting on the announcement, Bagus Y. Siregar, Vice President for Garuda Indonesia Australia and SWP said: “The launch of direct flights from Jakarta to London is an incredibly exciting venture for Garuda Indonesia, and with our new 777 aircraft, we are offering our passengers a premium aircraft together with our award-winning Garuda Indonesia Experience.

“To make our customers’ busy lives even easier, we’ve updated our flights departing Australia so that we’re able to offer an exceptionally convenient option for travel to one of Europe’s major hubs, London. From November, passengers will leave Australia in the evening and relax through the night, before arriving in London in the morning.”

Garuda is due to take delivery of the first of 10 Boeing 777-300ERs from June, and in previous announcements said that they would be dedicated to its longest range routes to Europe and the US.

The airline gave up pitching for the Australia-Europe routes in the early 90s, when the policy setting for its flag carrier changed to one of emphasising Indonesia rather than discount flights for rich Aussie backpackers going to Amsterdam or London on services operated by older model 747s.

That decision also occurred during an incredibly intense period of discounting in the Australia-Europe market that saw Qantas lift its share of the trade toward the end of its history as a government owned carrier,  without significantly improving its dismal earnings as an entirely wide-body equipped international operator.

That prolonged fare war saw off Aeroflot among other carriers, and preceded the exit of Air France, KLM Royal Dutch and Lufthansa, creating a vacuum in services on continental European routes that eventually attracted Emirates into the Australia market when that carrier was in its early years.

It is intriguing to see Garuda stake a claim for through traffic to Europe once more now that Qantas has abandoned its last continental European service to Frankfurt and reduced its daily flights between Australia and London to single A380s each way to London from both Sydney and Melbourne, via Dubai, the global hub of its new business partner Emirates.

The Qantas-Emirates ‘deal’ gifts former Qantas customers to Europe from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to Emirates but may well drive them to alternatives such as those offered from November by Garuda.

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